Unlike the safety scissors of your childhood (you know, the ones barely capable of cutting construction paper), safety razors are hardly kid’s play.
They are the best option for replicating the close shave of a straight razor without the real chance that you’ll slice your own throat. Compared to the four blade offerings, this no-frills option (basically just a handle and double edge razor) is old-school, but it’s being heralded as the best way to reduce irritation and ingrown hairs.
“There are more benefits than downsides to using a safety razor,” says master barber Kyle Holbrook of Fellow Barber in San Francisco. Holbrook shares some tips for getting your best shave with a safety razor.
Be Aware of the Benefits
There are more benefits to using safety razors. “The savings on blades alone warrant the change; one can buy a pack of 100 quality blades for under $10 and be able to experiment with a variety of different manufacturers and blade types,” says Holbrook. “Some guys need a more firm blade with less give, whereas those with sensitive skin or new to safety razor shaving can find a blade with more give.”
Heat and Oil Are Your Friends
While you won’t get as close a shave as you would with multi-blade razor, you can get closer by using pre-shave oil and heat to soften hairs, explains Holbrook. If you don’t already have a pre-shave oil, take a look at our list of the best options.
Practice Your Technique
Until you get the hang of it there is a higher risk of getting nicked than with the newer razors, but once you’ve learned the “angles and bends of your facial features,” you’ll get a bloodless shave, says Holbrook.
“The safety razor isn’t as steep of a learning curve as a straight razor, but it still requires some care when shaving,” he adds. “Many razor handles have an adjustment for the steepness or exposure of the blade, and starting low would be ideal and then you can adjust based on how it feels on your skin and how much beard it’s removing.”
Be Careful Around Tricky Areas
“As always with shaving, the challenging spots will be the chin, mustache, and under the bottom lip, but I’d say start with a big smooth area that is easy to shave — say the sideburn or cheek and go from there,” suggests Holbrook.
“Take your time and you will likely find that having a single blade shave is far less irritating to your skin than the aggressive shaving experience of the multi-blade razor,” says Holbrook.
Best Safety Razors
For something a little different, check out the deluxe safety razor from Olivina Men. You can opt for the typical chrome or wood finish, but this little guy also comes outfitted with an ivory handle, making it an elegant addition to anyone’s facial hair toolkit.
With its sleek, contemporary design, this short safety razor from Mühle is as attractive as it is practical. While the price might seem steep, it’s more than worth it for the water-resistant chrome handle and double-edged blade, both of which greatly extend the product’s life.
Merkur has been churning out high-quality grooming accessories for over a century and this razor does not disappoint. While the brand has plenty of smaller options in its collection, we’re especially fond of this 4-inch long safety razor, which is perfect for guys with larger hands.
Article originally published by Katie Dickens. Last update by Cody Gohl on June 22, 2018.